Confirmation - What does this mean?
Most Christian families baptise their child a couple of months after they are born, and the promises made at their baptism are made on their behalf by the parents and God parents of the child
Reaching the age necessary you may feel ready to affirm these promises yourself and commit your life to God and the Church in a service of Confirmation.
Confirmation is a sacrament a solemn oath, or a ritual or rite of passage practised by several Christian denominations.
The word means strengthening or deepening one's relationship with God and the church.
It allows a baptised person to re-affirm the promises made on their behalf at their baptism.
It is also a sign of full membership into the Christian family.
In a Christian confirmation, a baptised person believes that he or she is receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In the Roman Catholic Church, each participant is also anointed with oil.
In Protestant denominations outside the Church of England, confirmation is seen as a rite of passage or initiation to full Christian life
It is a symbolic act allowing the baptised person to make a mature statement of faith.
In the Eastern Churches Confirmation can be held at any age it is conferred on infants straight after baptism.
However, here in the West, most denominations insist that participants are old enough to understand the significance of their promises and the choice they are going to make, (and importantly here at St Francis confirmation is offered to anyone over twelve years)
Preparing for confirmation is important and candidates must attend a series of special classes to learn about the sacrament, their faith and Christian responsibilities.
Confirmation classes helps candidates to have a proper understanding of how to live as a follower of Christ, but also gives the opportunity to have all your questions answered
At one time, candidates were required to learn a series of questions and answers by heart known as the catechism.
Today's classes are more comprehensive and the particular needs of candidates will be borne in mind.
This is also the time when the Vicar or Priest will outline and talk through the service which you, he or the bishop wants.
Confirmation services are not just important to the people getting confirmed but also for the wider church community, as this gives the church the opportunity to come together as a welcoming family.
In the Church of England confirmation services are conducted by a Bishop, through prayer and the laying of hands, the Bishop asks God to send his Holy Spirit to give them the strength to live as disciples of Christ.
As I said earlier this service is just as important for the church congregation as it is for the candidate, it reminds them and perhaps re-affirms their own promises made at the time of their own confirmation.
I hope this has given you a brief outline of what is an important decision and service this is for your continuing commitment to God and the Church, however you must have a lot more questions than I can cover here, so perhaps you might like to click through to the Church of England web site and find your answers.
If you are interested in finding out more or indeed becoming confirmed, please let Fr Stephen know, (details on the contact us page).